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CBS Dunks 9.0 Final Four Rating, Best Since 2005

CBS and Turner Sports's exclusive coverage of the 2012 Final Four was the best with the March Madness marquee event since 2005.

CBS averaged a 9.0 rating/17 share with its telecast of Kentucky's 69-61 over Bluegrass state rival Louisville in the opener, and Kansas' 64-62 come-from-behind win over Ohio State in the nightcap, according to Nielsen overnight date. The two-game average -- the best since a 10.5/19 for Illinois-Louisville and North Carolina-Michigan State in 2005 -- edged past the 8.9/17 for the Butler-VCU and Connecticut-Kentucky matchups in 2011, according to officials at CBS and Turner, which are in the second-year of a $10.8 billion, rights deal for the Men's Division I Basketball Championship.

Kentucky-Louisville averaged an 8.4/17. up 1% from last year's 8.3/17 for the Cinderella national semifinal in which Butler was victorious over VCU. KU's win over OSU delivered a 9.6/17, up 1% from last year's 9.5/17  for UConn's defeat of Kentucky. The 9.6/17 is the best rating in the window since a 10.9/19 in 2005 for North Carolina-Michigan State.

CBS's telecast of the national title tilt between Kentucky and Kansas tips off at 9 p.m. (ET) on April 2.